Singers show enhanced performance and neural representation of vocal imitation

Waters, S., Kanbers, E., Levan, N., Belyk, M., Carey, D., Cartei, V., Lally, C., Miquel, M. and McGettigan, C. (2021) Singers show enhanced performance and neural representation of vocal imitation. Philosophical Transactions B. ISSN 0962-8436 (In Press)

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Humans have a remarkable capacity to finely control the muscles of the larynx, via distinct patterns of cortical topography and innervation that may underpin our sophisticated vocal capabilities compared with non-human primates. Here, we investigated the behavioural and neural correlates of laryngeal control, and their relationship to vocal expertise, using an imitation task that required adjustments of larynx musculature during speech. Highly-trained human singers and non-singer control participants modulated voice pitch and vocal tract length (VTL) to mimic auditory speech targets, while undergoing real-time anatomical scans of the vocal tract and functional scans of brain activity. Multivariate analyses of speech acoustics, larynx movements and brain activation data were used to quantify vocal modulation behaviour, and to search for neural representations of the two modulated vocal parameters during the preparation and execution of speech. We found that singers showed more accurate task-relevant modulations of speech pitch and VTL (i.e. larynx height, as measured with vocal tract MRI) during speech imitation; this was accompanied by stronger representation of VTL within a region of right dorsal somatosensory cortex. Our findings suggest a common neural basis for enhanced vocal control in speech and song.

Publication Type: Articles
Additional Information: Waters, S., Kanber, E., Lavan, N., Belyk, M., Carey, D., Cartei, V., McGettigan, C. (2021, June 7). Singers show enhanced performance and neural representation of vocal imitation.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Valentina Canessa-Pollard
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2021 09:46
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2022 00:10

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